Loyal readers will know that I have written in spurts on smartwatches in the past, including last week’s blog post. The smartwatch has become a near necessity for many around the world. From the tech giants, Samsung and Apple to the watchmakers, like Fossil, many different smart watches have taken hold of the market. The development of the smartwatch is listed below.
A number of prototype smart watch dials began to popup in the late 1970s. Eventually, Seiko caught onto the emerging trend. One example of Seiko’s attempts to break into a new watch revolution is the Seiko TV watch. This watch was launched in 1982 and was the first watch to incorporate a tv into the watch face. Not necessarily what we would refer to as a smartwatch today, the TV watch was certainly revolutionary and a step towards the smart timepieces of today. Seiko, undeterred by the TV watch’s complexity, continued to innovate. By 1984 the Japanese watch company developed a watch that was a step in the right direction. The RC-1000 Wrist Terminal was a computer watch. This watch had the unique ability to connect to computers and share information.
By 1994 Seiko had developed a proto version of the ability to text on a watch. Though not the system seen today, the Seiko Message Watch was able to work as a pager and so much more. It had a voicemail, news, sports, weather, and other information abilities. The watch face needed a lot more work to reach the elegant touch screens of today’s smartwatches, but the features bear a clear resemblance. At this point, other watch and software companies began to take notice of what Seiko was achieving. Microsoft worked with Timex to come out with the Data Link in 1994. This watch was able to download information from a computer, like appointments and phone numbers, though it would be another two decades until a watch could use these numbers to call someone. At this point, however, these watches were more like computer watches than the watches we see today.
The Advent of the Smartwatch
One of the first watches to make a call was the Samsung SPH-WP10 in 1999. The tech giant that later introduced one of the more popular series of smart timepieces, created a watch with an LCD screen and 90 minutes of talk time. Then in 2003, Microsoft returned to the field again with a massive shakeup to the computer watch field. These watches, called smartwatches for the first time, allowed the user to check sports scores, stocks, text messages, weather among many other features. Microsoft partnered with watch giants, Citizen, Swatch, Fossil, and Suunto to create their smart watch. This watch was not a hit, but it was the beginning of a new trend that will overtake the market in the following decade.
Dawn of the Current market
The current trend of smart timekeepers that connect with a smartphone was kicked off by Pebble in 2012 on Kick-starter. They raised $10 million dollars for their campaign and though they were not able to compete with industry giants, such as Apple and Samsung, their impact showed that there was a need for smartwatches. Eventually, major tech companies came out with their own versions of watches, each with a unique feature. Apple and Fitbit have come to dominate the smartwatch market with their emphasis on health and fitness wearables.
Though our watches aren’t smartwatches, they are beautify made mechanical watches. Purchase one here!